Thursday, February 25, 2010

World's 11 most expensive gadgets

Ever wondered what a $100 million can buy you? A posh house? An SUV? How about a gadget? Yes, in fact you will need much more to buy these gadgets then you would to buy a posh house or an expensive car!

With designers extending their midas touches to the world of gadgetry, you have gadgets like mobile phones, cameras, MP3 players, TV and more costing over a few hundred million dollars,

Sizzling both in features and looks, these gadgets stand for luxury. Here's over to the gadgets for the deep pocketed.Ever wondered which is the most expensive PC on the Earth? Its Earth Simulator built by Japanese company NEC. The system was developed for JAXA, JAERI, and JAMSTEC in 1997 for running global climate models to evaluate the effects of global warming and problems in solid earth geophysics.

Earth Simulator also held the distinction of being the fastest supercomputer in the world from 2002 to 2004. Located at the Earth Simulator Center (ESC) in Yokohama Japan, the computer is capable of 35.86 trillion floating-point calculations per second, or 35.86 TFLOPS.

In March 2009, Earth Simulator was replaced by Earth Simulator 2 which is an NEC SX-9/E system.

Price: 206,600,000 poundsA British company last year unveiled what is believed to be the world's most expensive mobile phone -- a gold iPhone encrusted with nearly 200 diamonds.

Called the iPhone 3G Supreme, it was reportedly commissioned by an anonymous Australian businessman. The phone, designed by Stuart Hughes for the Liverpool-based Goldstriker International, is made from 22-carat gold. It has 136 diamonds in the front bezel and an Apple logo made out of no fewer than 53 diamonds. The phone's front navigation button comprises a rare diamond of 7.1 carats.

The phone, which took over ten months to make, ships with a seven kg chest crafted from a single block of granite, offset with Kashmir gold and lined with Nubuck leather on the inside. Italian manufacturer Keymat Industrie's Yalos Diamond bags the title of the world's most expensive TV.

Plated in white gold and studded with 160 diamonds (20 carats), the TV has 1080i and 720p high definition picture formats and has a picture contrast ratio of 1200:1.

Made by Japanese designer Takahide Sano, the TV has no visible screws or welds. Launched in Berlin, Germany in 2006, the Yalo Diamonds comes in 32, 37, 40, 46 and 52-inches.

Price: 67,175 pounds
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Drugs

When people talk about expensive drugs, they usually are referring to drugs like Lipitor for high cholesterol ($1,500 a year), Zyprexa for schizophrenia ($7,000 a year) or Avastin for cancer ($50,000 a year). But none of these medicines come close to making Forbes' exclusive survey of the most expensive medicines on the planet.

The nine drugs on our list all cost more than $200,000 a year for the average patient who takes them. Most of them treat rare genetic diseases that afflict fewer than 10,000 patients. For these diseases, there are few if any other treatments.

So biotech companies can charge pretty much whatever they want.Alexion Pharmaceutical's Soliris, at $409,500 a year, is the world's single most expensive drug. This monoclonal antibody drug treats a rare disorder in which the immune system destroys red blood cells at night. The disorder, paroxysymal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), hits 8,000 Americans. Last year Soliris sales were $295 million. Since Alexion started selling Soliris two years ago, its stock price is up 130%.

In the inverted world of drug pricing, the fewer patients a drug helps, the more it costs. Before testing Soliris for PNH, Alexion tested the drug for rheumatoid arthritis, which afflicts 1 million Americans. The trials failed. But if it had worked for arthritis, Alexion would likely have had to charge a much a lower price for this use, as would have to compete against drugs that cost a mere $20,000.

Three other drugs cost more than $350,000 per year. Shire Pharmaceuticals' ( SHPGY - news - people ) Elaprase ($375,000 per year) treats an ultra-rare metabolic disorder called Hunter's syndrome. Just 500 Americans suffer from the disease, which causes infections, breathing problems and brain damage. Last year domestic sales of Elaprase were $353 million.

Naglazyme from BioMarin Pharmaceuticals treats another rare metabolic disorder and costs $365,000 a year, according to investment bank Robert W. Baird. Viropharma predicts that sales of its Cinryze, a treatment to prevent a dangerous swelling of the face, will increase from $95 million last year to $350 million several years from now. The drug costs an estimated $350,000 a year.
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Monday, February 22, 2010

The Most Expensive Video Games Ever

Video games are quickly approaching Hollywood movies in terms of budget size, and often surpass then altogether. In the early 90s, video game budgets were around $100,000 — when Doom was released in 1993 it had cost $200,000 and was touted as one of the most expensive games at the time.

Today, that barely covers one month worth of production. Here are the top 10 most expensive video game budgets ever:One of the most anticipated PS3 titles, and one which has been in development for over four years, Killzone 2’s budget was originally $20 million.

Then it was upped to $30 million. As development was extended by another full year, the budget went north of $40 million, and most estimates put it at $45 million. Higher estimates put it at over 41 million Euro, which translates to $56 million USD — but this number has never been confirmed by anyone at developer Guerrilla.

9. Final Fantasy XII: $48 million

The Final Fantasy games have been known for their outstanding quality, length and sheer production value. They’ve also been known as some of the most expensive games to have ever come out from Japan, and Final Fantasy XII had a budget of a whopping $48 million, excluding any marketing costs. The sequel, Final Fantasy XIII is rumored to have had at least a 50% higher budget, however, this hasn’t been made official (yet).

8. LA Noire: $50 million

La Noire was recently cited as “one of the most expensive games in development today”, by Tom Crago, the president of Game Developers’ Association of Australia. While this might have been exaggerated in order to shine some spotlight on Australia’s game developers (LA Noire is developed in Australia), it’s no secret that Rockstar has given LA Noire a massive budget, upwards of $50 million, to create a truly cinematic video game, where most of 1940s Los Angeles has been recreated and is fully explorable.

7. APB, $50 million

APB has been in development close to 5 years now, and Realtime Worlds have often stated that it’s the most expensive game they’ve ever worked on — Realtime Worlds founder Dave Jones had to raise Venture Capital, $50 million of it, to make sure that APB has enough money to sustain further development. The official budget is exactly $50 million, but Realtime Worlds is set to spend millions each year supporting and expanding the MMO.

6. Halo 3, $55 million

The Halo franchise has been so successful for Bungie and Microsoft that they virtually had an unlimited budget on Halo 3, as it had to be the best and most impressive game in almost all aspects when it was released. It pretty much was, at a price of $55 million, which excludes over $200 million Microsoft spent promoting the game.

5. Metal Gear Solid 4, $60 million

The biggest, pretties and most complex Metal Gear Solid game, one with hours and hours of cut scenes, amazing production values and one of the best visuals at its time, Metal Gear Solid 4 took 4 full years to make, at a price tag of $60 million, shared between Kojima Producitons and Sony .

4. Too Human, $60+ million

Sometimes, game budgets, just like movie budgets, tend to go over board and the final product ends up costing a lot more than originally planned. Too Human faced many issues during its development time, chief of which was the long and expensive struggle between Epic games and the Unreal Engine 3, where developer Silicon Knights abandoned the engine and started making their own — at a time when the game was almost complete. This added at least another $10 million to the budget, according to some sources.

3. Shenmue, $70 million

A game which held the record as most expensive game for nearly 10 years, Shenmue’s budget was unheard of at the time of it’s development — a $70 million budget for a SEGA dreamcast game. Shenmue offered a vast and explorable area, a complete weather system, and so many fine details and features that games even today don’t have. However, many failed to notice everything the game had to offer, and the game ultimately disappointed in sales.

2. Gran Turismo 5: $80 million

What’s set to become the biggest and greatest racing game in history, Gran Turismo has been in development for over 5 years now, and features over 1,000 cars, each painstakingly recreated for with extreme realism (and perfection) in mind. Its official budget as of mid 2008 was $60 million, and two years later when the game hits the stores, it will reach a staggering $80 million, making it the second most expensive game in history.

1. Grand Theft Auto 4: $100 million

When it comes to sheer production values, sheer amount of features, the details, no game beats Grand Theft Auto 4. The scope of the production dwarfs any other game: over 1,000 people worked on the game for over 3 and a half years, doing everything from studying New York city with cameras that recorded city traffic for months, to contacting over 2,000 people just to obtain the rights to the hundreds of music tracks that can be listened to in the game. Price to record a master for each track ran at around $10,000 and that excludes the license and royalty fees. There’s enough content in the game to keep the average gamer immersed for at least 100 hours. There should be, with a budget of $100 million, GTA 4 is the most expensive video game ever made.
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

World's Most Expensive Jeans

The popular denim pants, or the so-called jeans, have become the embodiment of everyday fashion, but they can also be a symbol of a certain standard.

At the beginning of the new Millennium expensive jeans started coming back into fashion with brands such as PO Jeans, Chip and Pepper, Paper Denim&Cloth, Seven for All Mankind.

The price for their models starts from $200 per pair. The Guinness Book of World Records listed figures, that rise the jeans to a new level.

For example, the price of embellished with applications Gucci Genius is 3134 dollars. Forbs reported another curious example – Escada’s Swarovski crystal-encrusted jeans that sold for $10,000.

Levi Strauss Company spent 46 532 dollars buying a pair of its own jeans on Internet auction in May 2001. The company has no plans to resell them, because, as they say, they are priceless.

The most expensive jeans were manufactured in the 1880s and purchased by a Japanese collector in 2005 for $60 000. But none of those impressive prices, can even compare to that commanded by Dussault Apparel's Trashed Denim line of jeans.

These jeans are handmade using a special process where where they are washed with dying and painting preformed between each washing. Each pair of Trashed Denim jeans is adorned with rubies, diamonds and white or rose gold. The jeans are priced at 250 000 dollars. Quarter of a million is a fantastic price, but there is no doubt, that they will find a buyer.
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Friday, February 19, 2010

The World's Most Expensive Island--Online

That's the amount David Storey, a 27-year-old graduate student living in Sydney, Australia, paid for a virtual island, the "Most valuable object that is virtual," according to Guinness World Records. It's easy to write off Storey, who goes by the name "Deathifier," as a geek gone wild, but he now owns a million-dollar empire. Storey runs Amethera Treasure Island, which he purchased in the virtual world Entropia, as a rare game preserve and taxes hunters on his land. Storey says the taxes bring in more than $100,000 in real money per year.

In Pictures: Extravagant And Outrageous Virtual Goods "I thought it would be cool to own an island, and I knew I could run it and be able to pay for my play" says Storey, who has picked up skills he never imagined learning in a game. "Entropia continually evolves, so you have to constantly be watching for new developments. It's sort of like real life."

While Storey's example is extreme, buying and selling virtual goods in videogames and virtual worlds is becoming mainstream. The virtual goods market in the U.S. is estimated to reach $1.6 billion this year, up from $1 billion in 2009, according to research firm Inside Networks. And the U.S. is just a part of the worldwide market, which some experts put as high as $10 billion; countries like China and Korea are major players.

Virtual worlds and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Entropia and Second Life are where virtual goods economies began. But in recent years, casual and social games like "FarmVille" and "Pet Society" on Facebook have also become important players.

Typically, virtual transactions can be divided into two categories. In one type of transaction, you "cash in," or exchange real dollars for virtual currencies, and use the virtual currencies to buy virtual goods, like a new cow in FarmVille. The other type of transaction lets you cash in and, like Storey, earn real money. In addition, virtual worlds and MMORPGs have also gotten very good at monetizing the user; industry experts estimate that the average revenues per user usually range from $10 to $20.

In comparison, social and casual games are relatively newer, less mature markets that usually only utilize "cash in" transactions. A fairly successful social game might have average revenues per user of a dollar or two. Still, Inside Virtual Goods estimates that sales from social games will make up more than half the total U.S. virtual goods revenues in 2010.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who owns the most expensive car in S'pore?

The first of four Lamborghini Reventon Roadsters snapped up by Singapore buyers has landed. At €1.1 million (S$2.1 million), the ultimate open-top supercar is costlier than a Bugatti Veyron (€1 million).

The owner of the first car is a top wheeler-dealer in the finance sector who does not wish to be named. He has not decided whether to register the car for use here. If he does, he will have to fork out $5 million for the pleasure.

Another buyer is entrepreneur Tommie Goh, well known for his love of exotic cars. One of his toys is a $3-million Pagani Zonda F, currently the most expensive car registered here. Only 15 Reventon Roadsters are made. All have been sold.

A first for BMW X5BMW's facelifted X5 is powered by the world's first twin-turbocharged V8 engine with the catalytic converter located in the vee.

The xDrive50i has an extra 53hp compared to the model it replaces, taking the total to 408hp. It hits 100kmh in 5.5 seconds, one whole second off the previous model.

Like the new Volkswagen Touareg, it has an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Dapper A1 supermini

This is the new Audi A1: 3,950mm by 1,740mm of stylishly pressed metal. Engine choices include an ultra-efficient 1.2 TFSI producing 86bhp and 160Nm of torque; and a 1.4 TFSI offering 122bhp and 200Nm.

The supermini can be equipped with automatic stop-start, brake recovery and S-tronic transmission.

Volkswagen's all-new Touareg was unveiled in Germany this week. The new model is up to 208kg lighter than its predecessor and all variants are equipped with an eight-speed gearbox.

There will also be a petrol-electric hybrid - Volkswagen's first. Styling-wise, it has LED daytime-running lights, popularised by sister brand Audi.

Say hello to Porsche 911 Turbo S

Just months after it unleashed the 911 Turbo, Porsche surfaces the 911 Turbo S. Boasting 530bhp and 700Nm of torque, the supercar hits 100kmh in 3.3 seconds (0.1 seconds quicker than Turbo) and a top speed of 313kmh (+1kmh).

The model is fully equipped: seven- speed PDK transmission with paddle shift, dynamic all-wheel-drive, dynamic engine mounts and Porsche Torque Vectoring with a mechanical limited slip rear differential.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The most expensive hotels in the world

For the fifth consecutive year Moscow has taken out the honour of having the world’s most expensive hotels according to the latest HRG survey.

The Russian capital was somewhat affected by the ongoing effects of the economic downturn with average room rates down on 2008 figures but the figure of $420 per room per night is still significantly dearer than second placed Abu Dhabi which averaged $350 per room. The rates for Moscow meant a fall of around $50 on the 2008 average rates.

Coordinated by the international corporate travel company Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) the survey discovered that average room rates across the globe were almost all down as hotel groups offered a range of discount deals to try and entice penny-conscious consumers in the recession.

British travellers would not have been impressed by the latest statistics given that the continued downward slide of the pound in 2009 meant that many global destinations were in fact more expensive last year than in the past for UK holidaymakers. According to the HRG findings room rates for Abu Dhabi were actually up by $40 from 2008 while Washington (9th) and Geneva (7th) both increased.

Third placed getter New York, which boasted an average rate of $340, saw declines of up to 23 percent while London also experienced a loss of around 5 percent but still placed well down the most expensive list at 29th position with an average room rate of $225.

Paris placed fourth on the list ahead of Manama (Bahrain), Milan and Copenhagen with Athens rounding out the top ten.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

World's Most Expensive Cars

If you're looking to travel in style and money's not a concern, you could opt for shares in a private jet, invest in a Louis Vuitton leather luggage set or spend six figures on any of a handful of street-legal, ultra-luxe cars. It'll take a good three-quarters of a million dollars to own something like the SSC Ultimate Aero.

The supercar produces 1,287 horsepower and features a carbon fiber-dashboard and center console with a digital temperature control unit and tire pressure monitor, for optimum driving conditions.But if you drive the Aero, be prepared to be outclassed by owners of the Lamborghini Reventón.

Only 20 drivers willing to part with $1.42 million will get to enjoy the car's fighter jet-inspired sharp edges and precise lines. You'll know the Reventón by its glass engine hood, solid aluminum fuel tank lid and opaque carbon fins screwed onto the black aluminum spokes on the wheels.

Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A., calls the Reventón a "car without compromise"--it's based on the $354,000 Murciélago and created exclusively in Sant'Agata Bolognese, the heart of Italian motor design.

Behind the Numbers Both make our list of the world's most expensive cars. To compile it, we reviewed price lists from all the ultra-luxe ($300,000 and above) automakers who might have produced a contender this year for the top spot, including Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, Koenigsegg, Lamborghini, Leblanc, Maserati, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Pagani, Porsche ( PSEPF.PK - news - people ), Rolls-Royce ( RYCEY.PK - news - people ), Saleen, Shelby Super Cars and Spyker.

We chose only cars that are currently in production and street legal, which eliminated the discontinued $653,000 Ferrari Enzo, as well as the $500,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster. In some cases we did not list all variations of a particular model. Prices do not include taxes, destination charges or upgrade options; some prices have been converted from euros to U.S. dollars.

Not all of the vehicles on our list are sold in the U.S.One similarity between last year's list and this year's? The brands themselves. While last year's tally saw more entries from Maybach and Pagani, aside from a few outliers (SSC Ultimate Aero and LeBlanc Mirabeau, among others) they, as well as Koenigsegg, Bugatti and Lamborghini, still produce.

The world's most expensive vehicles. These cars typically serve two purposes: as a posh chauffeured livery car, like the $1.4 million Maybach Landaulet, or as a screaming track machine, like the $1.3 million Koenigsegg CCXR.

And what that limited group is making is hyper-exclusive--production runs like the 150 expected for the French-built Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport are considered high-volume (it takes seven months and a down payment of $487,000 to get one).

Part of the idea behind the low numbers is to protect the car's value; the fewer Veyrons there are, the more each one will be worth. The cars are special-ordered--made after an order is taken and customized to any specifications deemed necessary by the customer--to ensure automakers don't lose money on a vehicle left sitting around without a buyer.

Exact figures on the profit margins for these privately owned companies are difficult to come by, but judging from the length and breath of their tenure (some have been around for decades), it's safe to say the sale of each vehicle generates a tidy sum.

Elite Supercars The Koenigsegg Trevita is of the most exclusive on our list. "Trevita" means "three whites" in Swedish, a nod to the car's unique diamond-colored carbon fiber-weave bodywork and the fact that only three of them will be made. Inside, Trevita comes with all the best technologies: a hydraulic lift system, a tire monitoring system, a chrono instrument cluster, paddle-shifters and carbon fiber brakes. Under the hood, the 1,018-horsepower engine and 250-mph top speed promise much for any weekend thrill ride (lateral G-force can reach 1.5 G, and it'll get to 200 km/hour in 8.75 seconds). Price tag: $2.21 million.

The Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster is another newcomer to the supercar winner's circle. This Italian-made machine is the new convertible version of the Pagani Cinque Coupe, the street-legal version of the Zonda R. The 678-horsepower, V12 engine is built.

By Mercedes-Benz's high-performance AMG division. It'll hit 62 miles per hour in 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 217 mph--and it'll stop from 62 mph in just 2.1 seconds, thanks to the extremely expensive carbo-ceramic self-ventilated hydraulic Brembo brakes. A total of five Cinque Roadsters will be made. Superior Standbys
Still, it's the Lamborghinis that have long inhabited expensive-car lists.

These include the Reventón (its unique design and bloodlines make it coveted by collectors) and its convertible counterpart, the Reventón Roadster. These jet-like screamers are steeped in Italian luxury history: They're named after Reventón, the fighting bull owned by the Don Rodriguez family and known for killing the famous bullfighter Felix Guzman in 1943.From the outside the angular Reventón duo is instantly recognizable.

But Lambo reps say their sharp edges and reduced lines are there solely to fulfill the car's function; ornaments and decorations are totally foreign to the design and performance goals of any Lamborghini. Another design cue, and one of historic import, are the doors, both of which open upward.

Ever since the Countach sports car was born in the mid-1970s, the doors-up effect has denoted Lamborghini's V12 line. The car also sports a brand new color option, an opaque, non-shiny greenish grey that shares the same name as the product.Under the hood, the 650-horsepower engine gets to 62 mph in 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 340 km/hour.

Inside, the cockpit has Alcantara, carbon, aluminum and leather trim, with liquid crystal instrument displays and a g-force-meter, which measures drive forces when accelerating, and braking, and for speeding around corners. As Lamborghini likes to point out, a similar instrument is used in airplanes.Matter of fact, with the going rate for private jets these days starting around $8 million, a plane may not be too far out reach--once the Trevita gets old and all.
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Monday, February 1, 2010

Most expensive website… evah

It seems the Chinese government has come true on its promise to be more transparent but appears to have forgotten the reason why. Two new websites, for the Confucius Institute and the China Trade Union, have attracted equal parts ridicule, bafflement and outrage after the Ministry of Finance announced their cost: 35.2 million and 6.7 million yuan respectively. Given that almost any website can be put together for under 100,000 yuan tops, how did so much money get spanked on one site alone? Answer: massive incompetence and no paper trail.

The two companies involved, Hanfeng Education and Hanfeng Network, were established for that sole purpose, and happened to have offices next door in the same building. The parent of the enterprise, the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOFCL) also founded the Hanfeng companies. Having a private enterprise handle public money is a classic Chinese way of freeing up restrictions on where it all goes; no invoices have yet been presented.

NOFLC have pleaded for more time to explain, saying the colossal figure took into account “management services, development planning, technical support and software development.” With such a highly entertaining “test case,” the question is, will such obvious calumnies be exposed to the public in future, and will this in turn curb corruption and perhaps increase public faith in officials' integrity? Or will it all prove too big a stumbling block for everyone involved? Confucius say, watch this space.
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